With Busch Gardens, Water Country, USA, Colonial Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktown – Williamsburg, located just a few hours away, is an amazing kid-friendly vacation! Here are some (cool) tips from our our vacay to Williamsburg with kids.
where to sleep
My family went twice in just a few months and chose to stay at two resorts instead of just a regular hotel. We loved having two separate bedrooms, a living room, a balcony, and a full kitchen since we always make a few crock pot meals to last the week.
Over Easter we stayed at the Greensprings Vacation Resort located a bit apart from the downtown area but we had a beautifully renovated room, an indoor and outdoor pool, mini golf (out of service when we were there), and an activities center with a full schedule for kids and adults alike.
For the week leading up to the 4th of July, we chose to stay at the Wyndham Kingsgate, which was much closer in proximity to most of the main attractions. They had the same amenities, plus a free game room and movie theater!
They will both try to get you to attend a presentation about their time share, but you can either just refuse or not show up. There were enough pluses to make up for this minor inconvenience.
what to eat
My personal favorite is Food For Thought. Great food and super fast service. There can be a wait, but they allow call ahead dining to get your name on the list. I also love the variety of kids options – like ribs, fried shrimp, pot roast, and a vegetarian option. And their sweet potato corn bread is to die for!
Aromas in Merchant Square (and a location in Newport News) gave us some yummy coffee, chai, breakfast and pasteries. But seriously, their cookies stole the show! Highly recommend their Chocolate Vacation Cookies. Almost worth the drive themselves.
Chownings Tavern is a great option when visiting Colonial Williamsburg. Reasonably priced menu and some roaming entertainment. Just get there early because they can fill up fast!
Eating at the parks is expensive, but, for us, necessary. You’re not allowed to bring in any outside food, but they do offer picnic areas outside the gates. My pick in Busch Gardens is definitely Der Festhaus. My husband and I split a roast chicken platter, which included two pieces of chicken, potato salad, red cabbage and a roll. Kids fare is standard, but what makes this the place to go is, if you time it right, you can watch a show while you eat! The parks do offer pay in advance meals at a discount, however, if you want to go that route.
where to play
Busch Gardens is a win for all ages! Thrilling roller coasters, kiddie rides, play areas, shows, animals and more! Bring a suit or a change or clothes because there are plenty of ways to get wet, including two splash pads! Pro tip: If you feel the need to adorn yourself with live birds, try to be the first one to the Lorikeet Glen in the morning. Buy some nectar and be ready to be bedazzled with beautiful birds! If you’re able to catch the fireworks, which run from July 3-August 10, they put on a fantastic show!
Water Country, USA, also owned by the same company as BG, is also extremely family-friendly. They have different pools for all ages, slides and rides for all skills and heights. My 6-year-old loved Meltdown and Big Daddy Falls, and my 3 year old loved the Wave Pool and H2O UFO. My favorite was the lazy river, Hubba Hubba Highway. And you can leave the floaties at home because they have plenty of life jackets for all sizes.
Pro tip: bring slip on shoes. The concrete was HOTHOTHOT and keenes were just difficult to keep getting on and off wet feet. I’d recommend water shoes or flip flops. Some slides won’t let you wear shoes down, but most will let you hold them.
Why not do both parks? If you want to do both parks in one day, you just have to pay for parking at one! Just save your receipt (or mirror hanger if you paid for preferred) and present it at the other park. I would recommend the Fun Pass, which grants you access to both parks until September.
Kidsburg is an absolutely amazing playground we happened to stumble upon on our first visit. Ziplines! Tire Swings! Pirate Ships! Clean Bathrooms! What more could you ask for? Maybe a little shade, but overall, this was a real favorite.
Colonial Williamsburg was a bust for our kids – my daughter wouldn’t even let me get her a bonnet or straw hat. You can pay a pretty hefty admission to go into the musuem and see the action, but for free you can just walk around the village and enjoy some quiet time on the green. Because our kids were so not interested, I’m glad we ended up for the latter, free option.
Pro tip: if you go to the visitor center, drive up to Colonial Williamsburg instead of following the walking path. My kids were beat by the time we got there! I heard that Jamestown is more kid friendly, so you might want to check that out.
rain, rain go away
On a rainy day, head down to the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. Amazing indoor aquarium exhibits, a touch pool, live bees, a kids vet center, and more. We were down for the Dinos Live! exhibit, which was awe inspiring for my 3 year old. They also have a great outdoor animal exhibit if the skies clear.
bringing along baby
Both Busch Gardens and Water Country, USA were stroller friendly, had changing rooms and rest rooms all over, and you can even shell out a bit more to rent a cabana at either location. The cabanas can offer midday respite and shade – – perfect for a little one who needs a nap or just some time out of the sun. They have attendants who, in some cases, will even deliver food to you.
I couldn’t get enough out of our first Williamsburg vacation, which is why we decided to go back! Between the area activities and the activities at the resorts, there was always something to do, and definitely something to bring us back again!